A Global Impact

Reflections on the Work of Yohei Sasakawa, the WHO's Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination

Edited by
November 2023 9781805261292 248pp, 8 colour illustrations
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‘The leprosy epidemic is slowly but surely fading away,’ says WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The number of leprosy patients in the world was once in the millions, but new cases have declined to around 200,000 a year, thanks to the efforts of governments, the WHO, NGOs and organisations of persons affected by leprosy.

Amid this changing landscape, Yohei Sasakawa has led various initiatives as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, and as Chairman of The Nippon Foundation. Marking the twentieth anniversary of Mr Sasakawa’s appointment as a leprosy elimination ambassador, this book recalls the initiatives he has promoted and led, and analyses their value and effectiveness, with a view to identifying lessons to be learned.

The volume’s expert contributors focus on five themes promoted and driven forward by Mr Sasakawa: Eliminating Leprosy as a Public Health Problem; Leprosy as a Human Rights Issue; the Establishment of the Rights of Primary Stakeholders; Expanding the Range of Awareness- Raising Activities and Developing New Partners; and Leprosy Control in the Post-Elimination Era. In synthesising and assessing these efforts, A Global Impact offers an important contribution to the future elaboration of measures against leprosy, and infectious diseases generally.


Shigeki Sakamoto is Professor Emeritus of International Law at Kobe University, and a former member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee.

Takahiro Nanri is Executive Director of the Sasakawa Health Foundation, a lecturer at Atomi University, and a visiting scholar at Chuo Gakuin University.  

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